Rick Scott's an unpopular candidate with a divided party and because of that Alex Sink begins the general election for Governor in Florida with a 7 point lead. Sink has 41% to 34% for Scott and 8% for Bud Chiles.
Sink is doing well because she has a higher degree of party unity than Scott does and because she's the favorite with independents. 72% of Democrats say they'll vote for Sink while only 57% of Republicans are committed to voting for Scott. Sink also has a 37-28 advantage with independents.
Scott has dreadful personal favorability numbers with 49% of voters holding an unfavorable opinion of him while only 28% see him favorably. His numbers are even worse with independents than they are with the population at large- a 54% majority of them see him in a negative light.
Sink is still largely unknown but she has good numbers with the people who do know her. 35% have a favorable opinion to 23% with a negative one. Scott's chances in the general election may rest on his ability to define her with the 42% of folks who have no opinion right now before she gets the chance to define herself.
Republicans hope that Bud Chiles will play a spoiler role for Sink's chances this fall but at this point he's actually getting 8% of GOP votes and only 6% of Democratic votes, suggesting that for now his presence in the race is hurting Scott.
This race is almost definitely going to tighten up. 22% of Republicans are undecided and only 11% of Democrats are so Scott has a lot of room to grow. Still Sink goes into the general election as the favorite and given that our March Florida poll found her trailing Bill McCollum 44-31, that's quite an amazing turn around.
One other note in closing the book on McCollum's candidacy- this poll found Sink would have started out with an 8 point lead against him so there's not a real strong argument that he would have been more electable. Republicans were going to have an uphill climb in this race regardless of who won the nomination.
Full results here